Founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz, the company that would become Longines really came into its own in 1860 when Agassiz’s nephew, Ernest Francillon, took the watch maker’s reigns. Under Francillon, the company moved to a site called Les Longines on the river Suze in 1867, trademarked the name Longines in 1880, and registered the famous winged-hourglass logo in 1889.
Of course, Francillon did more than see to the company’s marketing needs. He also oversaw technological innovations that would make Longines one of the world’s most respected watch makers. One of his first decisions was to introduce anchor escapements into Longines timepieces. Then, in 1888, he presided over Longines’s first certified chronometer.
By 1909, Longines had enough experience with small-caliber movements that it could devote more of its attention to the jewelry watches and wristwatches that would make it famous. Two years later, it introduced a barrel-shaped wristwatch that is considered the precursor of the Longines Evidenza line, which flourished in the 1920s.
As it turns out, the winged-hourglass was a prescient symbol for a company that created numerous timepieces for pilots. In 1919, Longines became the official supplier to the International Aeronautical Federation; in 1925, a Longines accompanied aviator Antonio Locatelli on a flight to the North Pole region; and in 1926, Walter Mittelholzer wore a Longines when he flew from Switzerland to Iran.
But the association really took off, if you will, in 1927, when Charles Lindbergh made his solo flight across the Atlantic. A Longines measurement device at Roosevelt Field in Long Island marked the moment he took off; a similar Longines timepiece at Le Bourget Airfield in Paris where he landed recorded the time of the flight: 33 hours, 30 minutes, 29.8 seconds.
While in the air, Lindbergh had a lot of time to think about a lot of things, including the perfect watch, which he eventually designed for Longines. His Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle, introduced in 1932, used high-frequency quartz regulators to aid in the navigation of transatlantic flights by showing both Greenwich Mean Time and the corresponding hour angle. Needless to say, a Lindbergh Hour Angle from the 1930s is one of the most collectible antique Longines wristwatches available today.
The introduction of a wrist chronograph in 1936 allowed the aviation connection to continue in 1938, when Howard Hughes broke the speed record for a flight around the world. By t...
Calendars, water-resistance, and self-winding mechanisms were added as features to Longines watches during the 1940s. Gold and diamonds became more common as post-war prosperity allowed Longines to go after the luxury market.
And then, in 1954, Longines introduced one of its most enduring sports-lifestyle brands, the Conquest. The handsome Flagship followed in 1957. A vintage Conquest or Flagship from the 1950s is as prized by collectors today as it was by customers in the mid-20th century. Another collectible wristwatch to look from the late 1950s is the Jamboree.
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Guerdat gallops to second Longines victory at final Western European League ...PR Web (press release), March 1st
Olympic champion, Switzerland's Steve Guerdat, produced a brilliant performance from the 12-year-old mare, Albfuehren's Paille, to record his second victory of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2014/2015 Western European League at the last leg in ...Read more
Monday Morning Find: This 1946 Longines Is Better Than a Vintage PatekBloomberg, February 23rd
Ask some collectors and they'll breathlessly tell you that 1930s to 1950s Longines chronographs are even better than their counterparts from such brands as Patek Philippe. So when this chrono crossed my path, I took immediate note—it's about as rare a...Read more
Churchill Downs Opens Nominations For Longines Kentucky Oaks Survivors ...CNNMoney, February 17th
LOUISVILLE, Ky., Feb. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Churchill Downs Racetrack ("CDRT"), home of the Kentucky Derby and Longines Kentucky Oaks, and its charitable beneficiaries Bright Pink® and Horses and Hope today announced that the public can now ...Read more
Longines Hong Kong MastersWorld Tempus (press release), February 16th
Longines was proud to present the Conquest Classic Moonphase, dedicated to its passion for equestrian sports, during the 2015 Longines Hong Kong Masters. This edition of the event was held from February 13th to 15th at AsiaWorld-Expo. The Swiss watch ...Read more
Olympic veteran John Whitaker shows his class at Longines Hong Kong MastersSouth China Morning Post (subscription), February 14th
Four-time British Olympic showjumper John Whitaker was in impeccable form to secure the US$84,500 Gucci Gold Cup at the Longines Hong Kong Masters at AsiaWorld Expo on Saturday night. Whitaker, 59, a silver medalist at the 1984 Los Angeles ...Read more
Great Britain's Brash still world number one and leading Longines Jumping ListEurosport, February 9th
There are few changes on the Longines FEI World Ranking Jumping List – which is compiled to the end of January 2015, as Brash is still followed by Germany's Ludger Beerbaum in second. There is a change in third and fourth positions, with third now ...Read more
Bertram Allen tops FEI World Cup leaderboard after second Longines Grand Prix ...Eurosport.com AU, February 9th
The 19-year-old rider, who has enjoyed a spectacular indoor season and recently moved up to 14th in the Longines world rankings, was partnering Billy Twomey's stallion Romanov. Together they overcame the challenge of Germany's Ludger Beerbaum on ...Read more
Thundering horses hooves in the moonlightWorld Tempus (press release), February 9th
The event was enlightened by many celebrities, such as Nicola Spirig, Triathlon World Champion, Ariella Kaeslin, Gymnastics European Champion, Bruno Kernen, Downhill World Champion and Sven Epiney, SRF TV moderator, and also the Longines ...Read more